White House press secretary Jen Psaki was confronted Tuesday over the White House's sudden decision to drop its mask mandate, conveniently one day before President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.
What is the background?
Over the last two weeks, leaders in Democrat-controlled cities and states have been rolling back face mask mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions. Then on Sunday, the U.S. Capitol attending physician lifted the face mask mandate at the Capitol, and the White House quickly followed suit.
The changes in Washington, D.C., come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completely changed their guidelines for masking. Previously, the agency based such recommendations on COVID-19 cases, but now the agency is taking into consideration hospitalization rates. The new formula means that 70% of Americans live in "green" or "yellow" areas, or those regions where masking is not recommenced.
Democrats claim the changes are driven by changing science, but critics claim polling data forecasting a Republican landslide in the 2022 midterm elections is the true force behind the sudden narrative shift.
What happened Tuesday?
During an interview on Fox News, anchor Bill Hemmer confronted Psaki over the sudden policy change and mockingly asked, "What changed in the science yesterday, Monday, as opposed to a week ago Monday?"
"It wasn’t actually yesterday, Bill. What the CDC did is they put out guidance last Friday that identified recommendations depending on what the hospitalization rates are in your part of the country," Psaki said, noting Washington is a "green" area, as classified by the CDC's new guidelines.
"The recommendation is not to wear masks, so we’re not wearing masks in the White House, the president’s not going to wear a mask tonight," Psaki added. "But it’s different depending on the part of the country."
Psaki pressed on WH mask policy changing before State of the Union www.youtube.com
Impact Research, a data firm that describes its staff as "proud pollsters for President Joe Biden," drafted a memo last month explaining that Democrats desperately needed to change their narrative on COVID-19 because voters had moved on from COVID-hysteria.
The memo — which, according to NBC News, was dated Feb. 16, or around the same times Democrats began changing their COVID messaging in unison — advised Democrats to take "the win" on COVID.
"The more we talk about the threat of COVID and onerously restrict people's lives because of it, the more we turn them against us and show them we're out of touch with their daily realities," the memo said, before warning, "And, if Democrats continue to hold a posture that prioritizes COVID precautions over learning how to live in a world where COVID exists, but does not dominate, they risk paying dearly for it in November."